Sara Henson March 25, 2021 Child Custody Attorney
Child custody attorney ohio - When religion gets involved in already messy child custody and divorce proceedings, things can really get ugly. Parents may not agree on whose religion the children will be part of. This argument has been exploding into courtrooms because of the increased divorce rates. Because of the complexity and the fact that the federal government does not want to get involved in religion, the local courts often have contradictory rules.
The main problem in cases like these is conflicts between the rights of parents and the interests of children. The courts need to try and not violate the first amendment freedoms to religion without endangering children.
Case law is fragmented, but courts have ruled that one or both parent's religious activities were not in the best interest of a child. In some cases, the child's own viewpoint is considered by the court. In one case, a appellate court sent a case back down to the lower court so they could gather evidence on a child's wishes. Courts will often rule in this way for children over 12 for both religious conflicts and general custody and visitation rights. However, the supreme court has not yet ruled on this issue, so often the law varies from state to state. Some places that have "cult" religions are particularly troubled by this problem. In one example, Denver family law attorneys argued that child custody and religion is something that should never come up in Denver divorce courts. Most states use one of three standards to decide on child custody standards.
One is called the actual substantial harm test, where courts will only curtail first amendment rights if the practice causes harm to the child. States like these also use this standard to restrict other parenting rights. An injury attorney will have a hard time working around this clear statute. Another standard is called the risk of harm standard, and applies earlier - if the religion will likely harm the child in the future. The final type is called no harm required, and is the hardest for Denver child custody arguments because the custodial parent is considered to have free reign over the child regardless of the other parent. The other parent has to then prove that the religion is causing harm to the child. In these states, non-custodial parents are expected to defer to the custodial parent in all matters religious.
Some interesting rulings on child custody include a Washington state case where the court ruled that simply being exposed to two different religions cannot be considered harmful. A Ohio case against Jehovah's Witnesses ruled that going against community norms and imposing social restrictions is not harmful. However, another case ruled that threats or physical actions to force children to do a particular religion are not lawful.